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GMA boss commends industry players

By: Maclean Kwofi
Mr Kwame Owusu, Director General, Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA). ­­­

 The Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Mr Kwame Owusu, has asked stakeholders in the maritime industry to work together in order to take a giant leap for a greater purpose in the industry.

Towards that end, he said, the authority would continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure the growth and sustainable development of the maritime industry.   

In a statement ahead of the World Maritime Day on September 27 in Accra, Mr Owusu said the GMA recognised the contribution of the various stakeholders in the maritime industry and would continue to collaborate with them to ensure sustainable development of the maritime industry.

“On the occasion of World Maritime Day, the GMA extends it gratitude to all stakeholders of the maritime and shipping community. 

The GMA appreciates the significant contribution made by all stakeholders in developing the maritime industry in Ghana and in particular, for promoting International Maritime Organisation’s mission of safe, secure, environmentally sound and efficient shipping,” he said.  

World Maritime Day

The World Maritime Day is a day set aside by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to focus attention on the significance of the maritime industry and its contribution to the global economy. 

The IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating international shipping. It deals with and coordinates all maritime-related issues ranging from safety, security, and environmental concerns to the training standards of seafarers.

Over the years, the IMO has built an enviable track record for developing and adopting new international conventions aimed at ensuring that international shipping keeps up to date with technical and technological advances in safety, while addressing the ever-increasing number of environmental and security challenges. 

The World Maritime Day is marked around the world with series of events on a theme chosen by the IMO to reflect aspects of its work.

The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future.’ 

This year, the IMO celebrates 70 years since the adoption of the treaty establishing it in 1948. 

The theme was chosen to provide the opportunity to take stock of the shipping industry and address current and future challenges for maritime transport to maintain and strengthen its contribution towards sustainable growth.

Mr Owusu observed that the role stakeholders in the shipping business play in the maritime space could never be overemphasised in relation to the world trade and its economy.

Without maritime transport, he said, the world would not be as prosperous as it was today and many countries would not be able to participate in world trade.

Global trade

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value were carried through the sea and handled by ports through shipping.  

Seaborne trade continues to expand, bringing benefits to consumers across the world through competitive freight costs. 

Today, there are over 50,000 merchant ships trading internationally, transporting every kind of cargo. 

The world’s fleet is registered in over 150 nations, and crewed by over 1.5 million seafarers of virtually every nationality.  

In recent times, the GMA boss observed that maritime security had been a major concern for the global maritime industry and lots of efforts had been devoted to these security concerns with issues related to piracy, armed robbery against ships, prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and other illicit activities at sea.

He explained that the IMO had been at the forefront  working with coastal states to develop capacity and enhance regional cooperation in dealing with maritime security concerns.

“As a country that depends heavily on the maritime industry for its socio-economic development, Ghana has a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of its maritime domain.

“This is to create the requisite environment to protect its international seaborne trade and facilitate the exploitation of its marine resources such as oil and gas to ensure a vibrant and sustainable maritime sector,” he said.

Securing the country’s waters

He stated that it was against this backdrop that the GMA, the focal agency in Ghana for the implementation of the IMO standards, had installed a Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS).

The system, Mr Owusu said, would help provide a comprehensive surveillance and monitoring of the country’s maritime domain with a view to secure its waters against unlawful activities and enforce maritime laws.

“Additionally, as a regulatory body, the GMA’s role is to ensure that adequate legislation are in place for the sustainable development of the maritime industry. 

“Over the past few years, a number of legislative initiatives have been taken and the authority is currently working to introduce a Cabotage Regulation that will enhance the reservation of trading activities in Ghanaian waters,” he added. — GB